A cocktail table provides the key to understanding Session Americana. It is so much a part of the band’s experience that they typically travel with it when they tour. The table is a centerpiece, of sorts, around which the musicians gather. Sitting there, they often swap as many jokes as they do instruments and songs. And that is the magic of Session Americana. With multiple singer-songwriters in the band one would expect a diverse array of songs on their latest release. They don’t disappoint from that perspective, all the while maintaining a cohesive feel across the song collection. No doubt, this consistency is the direct result of the time spent sitting around that table and singing. Harmonica player extraordinaire Jim Fitting shines with his Dr. John style vocals. “Beauty’s in the Eye” has an uplifting quality to it, building musically as Fitting half speaks and half sings with a jovial rasp. “I was blind and I couldn’t find all the beauty that was before me,” his confides before pronouncing, “love shook me, knocked me to my knees, called me a fool and made me see that she was fine.” Fitting’s “So Far From Your Door” has a comfortable feel that matches the tenderness of its subject matter. The band croons along with Fitting as he sings, “When the years go tumbling ‘cross the floor, off her shelf where they slept in a jar, when you hear a voice from long ago asking ‘why do you have to go so far from my door.’” “And you wonder how did I get so far from her door.” Ry Cavanaugh spins a tale of love and political extremism set in Ireland on “Barbed Wire.” “This love is not a white rose, this love is not a pink heart, this love is a barbed wire,” he declares against an acoustic pop melody with Irish and Americana overtones. Cavanaugh’s gentle “Raking Through The Ashes” has a brilliant musical conceit, describing the quest to rekindle a failed love with the ashes left in an extinguished fire.
'If all we have are embers, surely that’s enough, but if all we have are memories, that’s the end of our love. Raking through the ashes from the night before, raking through the ashes trying to light a fire once more.'
Dinty Child’s “Gold Mine” is a dark acoustic blues song punctuated by Fitting’s harmonica. “I was looking for diamonds in a coal mine,” sings Child, reflecting on a life of fruitless searching. In addition to their own songs, the group continues their tradition of championing New England songwriters. Love and Dirt opens with an inspired performance of Amy Correia’s radiant “Love Changes Everything.” Each of the group’s primary singers take a verse as the song builds, ultimately joining their voices together in beautiful harmony.